Yesterday I took a friend out on a hack with her ex racer, who she hadn’t hacked out for a long time due to him being ill and she was very nervous of what he might do. She took some persuasion to go, but he needed to be worked in straight lines and for short periods, so a hack was certainly good for his recovery. Plus the sun was shining, we both had a busy day and unwinding with our horses was a perfect tonic! I too didn’t used to be a big fan of hacking out because of the unknown...
One of the things that training to be a coach, going through a total change of career and working with horse riders’ confidence has taught me, is that we never know what the future holds. We can guess but that’s all it is, a guess. My mind-set that yesterday was to say that we will take each step at a time, keep breathing and in the present moment and not allow our mind to create a story for us, just be in the now and enjoy the hack. Needless to say her horse was perfectly behaved (as was mine of course!) and we both had a beautiful hack on a sunny evening together.
Fear is in the future. Our minds are really very good at thinking of something that we find scary and creating all sorts of fantastic stories of what could happen, based on our previous experience, what we’ve been told, or simply what we believe.The key is to be aware that at that moment, it really is all in your mind. It’s not actually happening. You’re just creating a story. It’s up to you if that story will come true or not! If you want to do something but you find it too scary to attempt it then this will help…
When you think of something you find scary, have you noticed that you normally come up with 100s of bad things that could happen? Do you come up with good things? Probably not. Because your mind is trying to protect you from experiencing the scary thing and so it convinces you that you don’t want to try it.When you think of something exciting or happy I bet you think of loads of good reasons to do it? So let’s use that strategy for scary things too.
1 – Think of the scary thing and make a note of all the things your mind comes up with as reasons why you shouldn’t do it, or what terrible things might happen.
2 – Now do the following – think of the worst possible thing that might happen – actually think beyond your initial scary situation, beyond the fall or injury or pain. Our mind doesn’t normally like to do this. It likes to stop at the point before the outcome of the fear. You think about falling off and that’s where it stops. If it happens, is it really that bad? Do you have any moments when you realise what you are actually fearing? Helplessness, anger, people who told you so, embarrassment etc.
3- Now spend some time thinking of why you do actually do want to do it. What are all of the positives?
4 – This time re run any negative thoughts and replace them with a positive outcome. Instead of falling off you stay on… then what?
5 – Tell yourself that you don’t know what will happen, good or bad, so you can imagine the good and what you focus on will grow. You can also imagine exactly how you want it to happen and practice this in your mind. Then when you come to do it, you know exactly what you will create in reality!
Soon you will begin to realise that the mind becomes very good at imagining good or bad and you can train it to do either. Allow the mind to be creative, but be in control of it and play with positives too. Create a mind-set that you are capable of dealing with whatever life brings. It all happens for a reason and everything is a lesson.
This is just one of many tools you can learn to use if you come and work with The Heart of Confidence. We’ve got 100s of them up our sleeves and can quickly work out exactly which one will work for you!!
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- About Jenni -
Jenni is an NLP Master Trainer, Certified Equine Assisted Coach, Performance Coach and Biomechanics instructor. She has years of experience in coaching riders to overcome fear, develop in confidence and perform at their best. Her previous background, as a Global Talent Management Consultant in one of the world's largest technology companies, has given her a fantastic understanding of how to develop and nurture talent at all levels and she is now relating this successfully to riders from Grass Roots to Grand Prix.
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